From Tough Times to Successful Entrepreneur
Posted: Jun 02 2016
We chatted with the inspiring Rebeca Zavaleta, an avid insta-blogger, and the creator behind the fashion and lifestyle platform, Wishbone & Clover. She specializes in advertising and creative strategy, and currently resides in Toronto with her 16 year old daughter Paula, her husband Gavin, and her two babies - Carmen, a one-year-old Labradoodle, and Papa, an 8-year-old Cocker Spaniel.
One thing people don't know about you.
I am very candid and sometimes don’t have boundaries when it comes to sharing. I am originally from El Salvador and moved to Toronto when I was 18 and pregnant. I had $80 to my name at the time and was determined to fight for a better future for my daughter and me. It was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make - leaving it all behind; my dogs, my house, the life I knew. When I moved to Canada everything was new and seemed so difficult; the language, the weather, the culture. I had to sacrifice myself for years, always dreaming of what my life could be even when it seemed like there was no hope. We were even homeless at one point, but thanks to my cousin who offered my daughter and I a place to stay, I was able to save enough money for a new apartment.
Dreaming saved my sanity; it gave me purpose. My daughter and mother gave me the strength to keep fighting. Sadly, I lost my mother to cancer when my daughter was 4 so things became even more challenging. However, I am 100% convinced that moving to Canada was the right decision. I had the chance to go to school, work on making my dreams come true, and Toronto became my home. I met my husband, who is the most supportive and kind person I know. He is my biggest fan, my best friend, and the best father to my daughter.
My story is not unique. So many of us go through extremely difficult experiences in our lives but true success is not measured by what you have. True success is being resilient; picking yourself up from every fall, and appreciating the good things in life. I am grateful and appreciate things not for their value, but for what they represent.
The best advice you've ever received.
My mother told me to always make myself whole and create my own independence. I was 23 when she passed so she told me I needed to go to school and work on my dreams so that I could be the best person I could be and of course, the best example to my daughter. The same advice applies when finding a partner. It is important that you have your own identity; that you make yourself whole, happy, and confident with yourself and your capabilities. After that, the rest will follow.
Favourite places to eat.
My favourite places are a combination of visuals, ambiance and of course, good food. As I am usually swamped during the week, I have brunch a lot as it gives me a chance to catch up with my friends and family. I love Colette Grand Café - it is absolutely beautiful and the food is to die for! Especially their Sunday buffet. I also love Weslodge. The service is amazing, the food is yummy and the waiters are super cute! Cluny Bistro is another favourite of mine. I love to brunch there or go for dinner with my daughter and husband. We love the atmosphere, and it’s location at the Distillery District - which is one of my favourite spots in the city. La Carnita is always a favourite. I enjoy their tacos, street corn and their sangrias! So good. My last one is Sweet Jesus, I love getting hot chocolate or ice-cream. They look like pieces of art. Too many amazing places in the city to count!
Your Top Noteworthy Item Picks.
1) Rose Stud Bracelets. I love minimalistic jewelry with an edge.
2) Square Stacking Rings with Rose. These rose studded rings are perfect!
3) Sunnies Case. The perfect texture and quality.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I get to be creative and have my own voice. I have worked really hard to create an outlet for my ideas and experiences, and I have been lucky enough to be able to do it for a living. Creativity is freedom, there are no boundaries, and you can always start from scratch as well as give shape to something completely different every day. This is why the idea of launching my blog came to life. Instagram has given me the opportunity to create a visual story but I feel like it is not enough. I need a platform that would allow me to share what I’m all about in a deeper level and hopefully connect with people thought my stories and content.
We're all doing some spring/summer cleaning. How do you organize your closet?
I try to keep myself organized and I’m lucky enough to have been able to turn one our spare bedrooms into my closet. If you keep things where you can clearly see them, it makes it easier to put yourself together in the morning. I organize my clothing by colour so I can find things easier. I keep one or two seasons in my closet and store the rest to avoid clutter. I also have closet sales every season and have my friends and family come over for drinks and some shopping. Nothing is over $25! My husband thinks I end up spending more money throwing the party, but it is so much fun. What do I do with the money I make from the sales? Buy more clothes! It’s a beautiful cycle!
Some moms have told us that it's hard for them to find time in their day to get dressed up or to go shopping. Any tips?
I usually wake up very early before the madness starts. I find it makes a big difference. I like to have coffee while reading a magazine or looking for inspiration on Pinterest. Even if I am not able to do this everyday, I make sure I do it during the weekend and plan my outfits mentally so that I know what pieces to look for and put together. Sometimes this helps, but sometimes I end up frustrated with a big pile of clothes feeling like nothing works! It is part of the struggle, but one key element is choosing to spend a little time on your own either to go shopping or to look for inspiring ways to mix what you already have. It is not always easy. Taking a couple of deep breaths (I am a fan of big breaths) helps to put things in perspective. One thing that helps me every time when I shop is asking myself: “How many times will I wear this? Will I be able to mix it with stuff I already have? Can I do better in terms of price?”
What does the word noteworthy mean to you?
To me, noteworthy means something powerful and important. Something that will make you stop and take notice. Something to keep in your records, whether is a source of inspiration, a beautiful meal, a pair of shoes, or a strong spirit. When it comes in to your life, it has a positive impact.
To read more from Rebeca, click here!